3-4-3 with a Ceballos/Xhaka front foot pivot the key in the race for Europe

Arsenal VS Norwich: Arteta’s Attacking plan proves the best form of Defence


Arteta’s Arsenal secured three points against Norwich in ruthless fashion in the kind of display we need if we want to finish with a chance at qualifying for Champions League football. Arsenal rarely gave Norwich room to breathe on the pitch, with Arteta clearly telling his team to attack from the touchline. The 4-0 win came from our team resting Buyako Saka, Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah. It was nice to see Arsenal hungry for the ball again using attack as a form of defence. 

There are three areas I will focus on: Defence, Midfield and Attack.

In defence a back three with overlapping full backs kept Arsenal dominant. It took some time for the players to gel in the new formation but if we defend as a unit and get all the team back behind the ball and look to attack from the moment we have the ball we can see glimpses of Arteta’s winning philosophy. The last goal of the game came from Substitute Cedric Soares as he finished clinically from a corner and I hope to see him sign a permanent deal over the summer. 


Arteta as the commentators said during the game may have his mind set on the Arsenal fixture against Wolves this Saturday. I would say Rob Holding should come in for David Luiz to help mark Wolves striker Jimenez. No discredit to David Luiz who gave a great performance against Norwich, I just think Rob Holding may have extra legs to deal with Wolves pacy attack. 

In midfield Dani Cebellos and Granit Xhacka who played in a high line, as did the whole team who appeared to understand Arteta’s ethos: attack, attack, attack! Certainly with a 3-4-3 formation it is essential to be on the front foot. Changing to a lower gear could cause calamity if you let your foot off the gas in that formation spaces can appear. But it was Arsenal who closed down Norwich even with forwards Cantwell and Pukki in attack; clear goal scoring opportunities were few and far between for Norwich.

A Creative Midfielder like Cebellos is almost better than having a number 10 because the player who is on loan from Real Madrid can make scything passes into the box from the half way line and help link defence into attack. Ceballos is keeping Ozil out the team because Ozil fails to go up a couple of gears in defensive terms. I feel it maybe a risk to play Ozil currently when the margin of qualifying for the Champions League is so fine.

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Incisive passing from our loanee

A rare goal for Granit Xhaka who was booed off the field earlier in the season seems rejuvenated alongside Cebellos in the midfield. I always got the feeling there are goals in Xhaka and that he prefers to push forward. I hope Arsenal find the resolve in the summer transfer window to sign Cebellos on a permanent deal and also keep Xhaka. Some more positive news is that Buyako Saka has signed a new four year contract with Arsenal but was rested in Wednesday’s fixture. 

Also Lucas Torreira is apparently back from injury, But with Joe Willock on such fine form he might find it hard to get into the starting 11. 

In attack Aubameyang was gifted a goal as the Arsenal striker stole the ball from a loose pass and put the ball into an empty net. Nketiah’s goal against Southampton in the FA Cup last weekend was similar and shows if a team puts pressure high up the pitch the opposition is bound to make errors. The opposition is then deflated and lack concentration, knowing every back pass could force an error. Arsenal continued their ruthlessness creating chances with every build up in play sadly a goal didn’t fall to Lacazette who played well.

auba upside down

Auba on fire

My man of the match was Dani Ceballos because he put the opposition on the back foot opening up their defence with a series of exquisite through balls and passes keeping the ball alive. He didn’t score but I feel there are goals in him and he added to a team performance. Anything is possible, certainly with Chelsea dropping points against West Ham. 


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